BCAA’s Caffeine-Like Effect

Caffeine not only gets you energized and focused for a great workout, it dulls your perception of exertion levels. In other words, caffeine makes you feel like the lifting, running, cycling or swimming is easier. Scientists wanted to know if amino acid supplementation might work the same way. So, for a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, they had 9 untrained subjects supplement with either a branched chain amino acid drink (BCAA), a carbohydrate beverage or a placebo. Drinks were provided prior to and after 60 minutes of exercise.

Subjects performed a 90-minute stretch of continuous cycling at 55% of their maximum capacity. Afterward, they raced against the clock in a 15-minute time trial. As you might expect, the carbohydrate-fueled cyclists went further during their 15-minute race. Although there wasn't any significant difference between BCAA and placebo time trial performance, the BCAA drinkers reported a lower rate of exertion.

True Strength Moment: From the results of this study, it's reasonable to assume that a beverage containing both BCAAs and carbohydrates might help optimize your aerobic exercise performance. If you want to test that theory in the gym or on the bike trail, ON makes an easy-to-mix powder called 2:1:1 Recovery that augments a blend of staged proteins and fast carbohydrates with BCAAs.
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